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One often hears TV panellists from the Left side of the political spectrum quoting Article 19 of the Constitution, guaranteeing the “right to freedom of speech and expression”. But that’s an obvious case of cherry picking. What one needs to know is that the same Article has a sub-clause stating that the state may make a law imposing reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right to the freedom of speech and expression. While it is mandatory to maintain and preserve the freedom of speech and expression in a democracy, it is also necessary to place some curbs on this freedom for the maintenance of social order. These very ‘checks and balances’ make our democracy exquisite and vibrant.
Unfortunately, Article 19 is exploited by individuals and parties as per their convenience. One remembers the chants of ‘Bharat tere tukde honge, inshallah, ‘agitate and cut off chicken’s neck corridor to isolate Assam from India’, etc, in the garb of the freedom of speech and expression while conveniently obliterating its limitations. Article 19, empowering citizens with a freedom of speech and expression, apparently seems to be shelved and preserved for only a particular ideology.
Now, in an explosive and a viral video on the popular YouTube channel “The String”, which has around 4 lakh subscribers, the host Vinodh Kumar has made a series of sensational claims on the ongoing farmer’s protest. The video also shed light on an association called DIGIPUB, an association of media entities like The Wire, The Quint, The News Minute, Alt News, Scroll, etc, and how these media entities and the journalists associated with it found mention in Greta’s ‘toolkit’ that had details, point by point, on how to spread vile propaganda against India, whom to tag in the social media posts and other such information. The video also alleges that a foreign individual named Annalisa Merelli endorsed these media outlets to channel funds to them a few days before Greta Thunberg shared the toolkit.
Soon after the video’s release, it went viral and amassed over 1.5 lakh views in just a few hours. The video, however, was soon expunged by YouTube, sparking a national debate on social media and mainstream media.
“The video was mass reported by those who have been unveiled and exposed badly by us and we are now looking for all possible legal options”, said one member of the channel on condition of anonymity. “The String” has also appealed to YouTube, demanding a detailed clarification for removing the video.
“We put up the video from our social media accounts including our YouTube channel with distinct ‘evidences’ joining various dots after in-depth research that our team does and still the video was reported and has been taken off,” said Kumar.
The String had also highlighted how George Soros had been indirectly influencing India’s political affairs by allegedly funding a few Leftist websites/media houses. Vinodh had also highlighted how these websites were mentioned in Thunberg’s ‘toolkit’, the documents inadvertently shared by the climate change activist that exposes the foreign conspiracy against India.
On the other hand, when propaganda against the country was being carried on, and its democratically-elected government was being targeted for the so-called “genocide” of farmers on 26 January, the Government of India asked Twitter to block the accounts which were involved in running this vile agenda. But the social media giant refused to do so, citing the freedom of expression.
“The freedom of speech and expression is only for the people with Leftist ideologies and is not for nationalists or pro-Indians, who would want to expose the anti-nationals who are trying to divide India and besmirch the image of the country”, says another member on condition of not being named.
“The String” also took to Twitter to share that the channel’s latest video, which exposed the design laid out in the Thunberg toolkit, was removed from YouTube. The popular Indian YouTuber, in the said video, had explained the whole conspiracy behind the farmers’ protest and the well-organised, coordinated and managed social media propaganda from within and outside the country.